Time has come for more licensed mid-band spectrum availability

mid-band spectrum

A new study that compares available spectrum released in 14 countries, illustrates the U.S. mid-band spectrum challenge and highlights the importance of American policymakers to move quickly to bring more licensed mid-band spectrum to power the ever increasing 5G networks.

This report highlights that U.S. policymakers need to deliver the mid-spectrum they have identified—and do so quickly,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President and CEO. “We need 350 MHz of spectrum auctioned in 2020. America’s national spectrum strategy—FCC Chairman Pai’s 5G Fast Plan—has been instrumental to date, and I’m confident we’ll make more licensed spectrum available to continue successfully building the U.S. 5G economy.”

Analysys Mason looked at the spectrum that was released between 2017 and 2020, as well as the licensing approach that was adopted for each band. The key findings from the benchmarked countries include:

  • While nearly all spectrum in other countries has been made available on an exclusively licensed basis, the U.S. is an “outlier” in the amount of unlicensed and shared spectrum being made available.
  • The U.S. is the only country that has released mid-band spectrum in the 3 GHz range on a shared or unlicensed basis.
  • European countries are making only the lower part (5.925-6.425 GHz) of the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use.
  • Following U.S. leadership on high-band, most countries have begun to make or will make a significant amount of high-band spectrum available.
  • With the 600 MHz auction, the U.S. was one of the first countries to release low-band spectrum suitable for 5G.

Our research shows that other countries are currently more fully committed to the licensed spectrum playbook that made the U.S. the 4G global leader,” said Janette Stewart, a Principal with Analysys Mason and the lead author of the report. “More licensed spectrum, particularly in the mid-band, is critical if the U.S. wants to maintain its wireless leadership.”

You can find the full report here.